Genocide definitions include many scholarly and international legal definitions of genocide,a word coined with genos (Greek: birth, kind, race) and an English suffix -cide by Raphael Lemkin in 1944. However, the precise etymology of the word is a compound of the ancient Greek word γένος (birth, genus, kind) or Latin word gēns (tribe, clan) and the Latin word caedō (cut, kill). While there are various definitions of the term, almost all international bodies of law officially adjudicate the crime of genocide pursuant to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG).
This and other definitions are generally regarded by the majority of genocide scholars to have an "intent to destroy" as a requirement for any act to be labelled genocide; there is also growing agreement on the inclusion of the physical destruction criterion.Writing in 1998 Kurt Jonassohn and Karin Björnson stated that the CPPCG was a legal instrument resulting from a diplomatic compromise. As such the wording of the treaty is not intended to be a definition suitable as a research tool, and although it is used for this purpose, as it has an international legal credibility that others lack, other definitions have also been postulated. Jonassohn and Björnson go on to say that for various reasons, none of these alternative definitions have gained widespread support.
|1944||Raphael Lemkin, Polish lawyer of Jewish descent||By "genocide" we mean the destruction of an ethnic group…. Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups….|
|1945||Count 3 of the indictment of the 24 Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg Trials||They (the defendants) conducted deliberate and systematic genocide—viz., the extermination of racial and national groups—against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories in order to destroy particular races and classes of people, and national, racial or religious groups, particularly Jews, Poles, Gypsies and others.|
|1946||Raphael Lemkin||The crime of genocide should be recognized therein as a conspiracy to exterminate national, religious or racial groups. The overt acts of such a conspiracy may consist of attacks against life, liberty or property of members of such groups merely because of their affiliation with such groups. The formulation of the crime may be as follows: "Whoever, while participating in a conspiracy to destroy a national, racial or religious group, undertakes an attack against life, liberty or property of members of such groups is guilty of the crime of genocide. ("Genocide", American Scholar, Volume 15, no. 2 (April 1946), p. 227–230)|
|1946||United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96 (I) (11 December)||Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings; such denial of the right of existence shocks the conscience of mankind, …and is contrary to moral law and to the spirit and aims of the United Nations. …|
|1948||The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948 and came into effect on 12 January 1951 (Resolution 260 (III)). Article 2:||Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (Article 2 CPPCG)|
|1959||Pieter N. Drost, Dutch law professor||Genocide is the deliberate destruction of physical life of individual human beings by reason of their membership of any human collectivity as such. (The Crime of State, Volume 2, Leiden, 1959, p. 125.)|
|1975||Vahakn Dadrian, Armenian sociologist||Genocide is the successful attempt by a dominant group, vested with formal authority and/or with preponderant access to the overall resources of power, to reduce by coercion or lethal violence the number of a minority group whose ultimate extermination is held desirable and useful and whose respective vulnerability is a major factor contributing to the decision for genocide. (A Typology of Genocide)|
|1976||Irving Louis Horowitz, sociologist||[Genocide is] a structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a state bureaucratic apparatus. …Genocide represents a systematic effort over time to liquidate a national population, usually a minority…[and] functions as a fundamental political policy to assure conformity and participation of the citizenry. (Genocide: State Power and Mass Murder)|
|1981||Leo Kuper, genocide scholar||I shall follow the definition of genocide given in the [UN] Convention. This is not to say that I agree with the definition. On the contrary, I believe a major omission to be in the exclusion of political groups from the list of groups protected. In the contemporary world, political differences are at the very least as significant a basis for massacre and annihilation as racial, national, ethnic or religious differences. Then too, the genocides against racial, national, ethnic or religious groups are generally a consequence of, or intimately related to, political conflict. However, I do not think it helpful to create new definitions of genocide, when there is an internationally recognized definition and a Genocide Convention which might become the basis for some effective action, however limited the underlying conception. But since it would vitiate the analysis to exclude political groups, I shall refer freely…to liquidating or exterminatory actions against them. (Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century)|
|1982||Jack Nusan Porter, Ukrainian American sociologist||Genocide is the deliberate destruction, in whole or in part, by a government or its agents, of a racial, sexual, religious, tribal or political minority. It can involve not only mass murder, but also starvation, forced deportation, and political, economic and biological subjugation. Genocide involves three major components: ideology, technology, and bureaucracy/organization.|
|1984||Yehuda Bauer, Israeli historian and Holocaust scholar||[Genocide is] the planned destruction, since the mid-nineteenth century, of a racial, national, or ethnic group as such, by the following means: (a) selective mass murder of elites or parts of the population; (b) elimination of national (racial, ethnic) culture and religious life with the intent of "denationalization"; (c) enslavement, with the same intent; (d) destruction of national (racial, ethnic) economic life, with the same intent; (e) biological decimation through the kidnapping of children, or the prevention of normal family life, with the same intent…. [Holocaust is] the planned physical annihilation, for ideological or pseudo-religious reasons, of all the members of a national, ethnic, or racial group.|
|1987||Tony Barta, historian||My conception of a genocidal society—as distinct from a genocidal state—is one in which the bureaucratic apparatus might officially be directed to protect innocent people but in which a whole race is nevertheless subject to remorseless pressures of destruction inherent in the very nature of the society. ("Relations of Genocide: Land and Lives in the Colonization of Australia", pp. 239–240.) (see also Australian genocide debate)|
|1987||Isidor Wallimann and Michael N. Dobkowski||Genocide is the deliberate, organized destruction, in whole or in large part, of racial or ethnic groups by a government or its agents. It can involve not only mass murder, but also forced deportation (ethnic cleansing), systematic rape, and economic and biological subjugation. (Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000. Reissue of an early work.)|
|1988||Henry Huttenbach||Genocide is any act that puts the very existence of a group in jeopardy. ("Locating the Holocaust on the Genocide Spectrum: Towards a Methodology of Definition and Categorization", Holocaust and Genocide Studies . Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 289–303.)|
|1988||Helen Fein, sociologist||Genocide is a series of purposeful actions by a perpetrator(s) to destroy a collectivity through mass or selective murders of group members and suppressing the biological and social reproduction of the collectivity. This can be accomplished through the imposed proscription or restriction of reproduction of group members, increasing infant mortality, and breaking the linkage between reproduction and socialization of children in the family or group of origin. The perpetrator may represent the state of the victim, another state, or another collectivity. (Genocide: A Sociological Perspective, London)|
|1988||Barbara Harff and Ted Gurr, professors of political science||the promotion and execution of policies by a state or its agents which result in the deaths of a substantial portion of a group …[when] the victimized groups are defined primarily in terms of their communal characteristics, i.e., ethnicity, religion or nationality. ("Toward Empirical Theory of Genocides and Politicides", International Studies Quarterly, 37:3, 1988)|
|1990||Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn||Genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator. (The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies, Yale University Press)|
|1990||John L. P. Thompson and Gail A. Quets||In short, given the problems which arise from restrictions, we define genocide as the destruction of a group by purposive action. This allows the role of intentional action to be explored, different subtypes of genocide to be compared, and the impact of different factors on genocide to be examined empirically. (Genocide and Social Conflict: A Partial Theory and Comparison, p. 248)|
|1993||Helen Fein||Genocide is sustained purposeful action by a perpetrator to physically destroy a collectivity directly or indirectly, through interdiction of the biological and social reproduction of group members, sustained regardless of the surrender or lack of threat offered by the victim. (Genocide: A Sociological Perspective, 1993/1990)|
|1994||Steven T. Katz, American philosopher and scholar||[Genocide is] the actualization of the intent, however successfully carried out, to murder in its totality any national, ethnic, racial, religious, political, social, gender or economic group, as these groups are defined by the perpetrator, by whatever means. (The Holocaust in Historical Perspective, Vol. 1, 1994) [Modified by Adam Jones in 2000 to read, "murder in whole or in substantial part…"]|
|1994||Israel W. Charny, psychologist and genocide scholar||Genocide in the generic sense means the mass killing of substantial numbers of human beings, when not in the course of military action against the military forces of an avowed enemy, under conditions of the essential defencelessness of the victim. (Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions ed. George Andreopoulos)|
|1996||Irving Louis Horowitz, sociologist||Genocide is herein defined as a structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a state bureaucratic apparatus…. Genocide mean the physical dismemberment and liquidation of people on large scales, an attempt by those who rule to achieve the total elimination of a subject people.|
|2002||Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||Article 6 of the Rome Statute provides that "genocide" means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.|
|2003||Barbara Harff||Genocides and politicides are the promotion, execution, and/or implied consent of sustained policies by governing elites or their agents—or, in the case of civil war either of the contending authorities—that are intended to destroy, in whole or part, a communal, political, or politicized ethnic group.|
|2005||Mark Levene, historian||Genocide occurs when a state, perceiving the integrity of its agenda to be threatened by an aggregate population—defined by the state as an organic collectivity, or series of collectivities—seeks to remedy the situation by the systematic, en masse physical elimination of that aggregate, in toto, or until it is no longer perceived to represent a threat.|
|2007||Martin Shaw, sociologist||Genocide is a form of violent social conflict or war, between armed power organizations that aim to destroy civilian social groups and those groups and other actors who resist this destruction. Genocidal action is action in which armed power organizations treat civilian social groups as enemies and aim to destroy their real or putative social power, by means of killing, violence and coercion against individuals whom they regard as members of the groups.|
|2011||Uğur Ümit Üngör||Genocide can be defined as a complex process of systematic persecution and annihilation of a group of people by a government... We can speak of genocide when individuals are persecuted and murdered merely on the basis of their presumed or imputed membership in a group rather than on their individual characteristics or participation in certain acts.|
|2013||Adrian Gallagher||Genocide is when a collective source of power (usually a State) intentionally uses its power base to implement a process of destruction in order to destroy a group (as defined by the perpetrator), in whole or in substantial part, dependent upon relative group size.|
|2017||John Cox, historian||Genocide is the concerted, coordinated effort to destroy any human group or collectivity as it is defined by the perpetrator. |
Genocide differs from other mass crimes against humanity and atrocities by its ambition. Genocide aims to not only eliminate individual members of the targeted group but to destroy the group’s ability to maintain its social and cultural cohesion and, thus, its existence as a group. Because perpetrators very rarely provide explicit statements of genocidal intent, this intent can be uncovered by examining policies, actions, and outcomes, as well as the guiding ideology.
Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. A term coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, the hybrid word genocide is a combination of the Greek word γένος and the Latin suffix -caedo.
Cultural genocide or cultural cleansing is a concept which was distinguished by lawyer Raphael Lemkin in 1944 as a component of genocide. Though the precise definition of cultural genocide remains contested, the Armenian Genocide Museum defines it as "acts and measures undertaken to destroy nations' or ethnic groups' culture through spiritual, national, and cultural destruction."
The Albigensian Crusade or the Cathar Crusade was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in southern France. The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown and promptly took on a political aspect, resulting in not only a significant reduction in the number of practising Cathars, but also a realignment of the County of Toulouse in Languedoc, bringing it into the sphere of the French crown, and diminishing both Languedoc's distinct regional culture and the influence of the counts of Barcelona.
Mass killing is a concept proposed by genocide scholars to define incidents of non-combat killing by government or state. A mass killing, as defined by Ervin Staub, is "killing members of a group without the intention to eliminate the whole group or killing large numbers of people without a precise definition of group membership."
The Armenian Genocide was the systematic mass murder and expulsion of ethnic Armenians carried out in Turkey and adjoining regions by the Ottoman government during World War I. Although earlier massacres had occurred during the 19th century, and some sporadic massacres of Armenians began in mid-1914, the starting date of the genocide is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders from Constantinople, most of whom were eventually murdered.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. It defines genocide in legal terms, and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lawyer Raphael Lemkin. All participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peacetime. As of May 2019, 152 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty, most recently Mauritius on 8 July 2019. One state, the Dominican Republic, has signed but not ratified the treaty.
Raphael Lemkin was a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who is best known for coining the word genocide and initiating the Genocide Convention. Lemkin coined the word genocide in 1943 or 1944 from genos and -cide. His work inspired Jessie Bernard whose American Community Behavior contains one of the earliest sociological studies of genocide.
The War in the Vendée was a counter-revolution in the Vendée region of France during the French Revolution. The Vendée is a coastal region, located immediately south of the Loire River in western France. Initially, the war was similar to the 14th-century Jacquerie peasant uprising, but quickly acquired themes considered by the Jacobin government in Paris to be counter-revolutionary, and Royalist. The uprising headed by the newly formed Catholic and Royal Army was comparable to the Chouannerie, which took place in the area north of the Loire.
The term genocidal massacre was introduced by Leo Kuper (1908–1994) in order to describe incidents which have a genocidal component but are committed on a smaller scale when they are compared to genocides such as the Rwandan genocide. Others such as Robert Melson, who also makes a similar differentiation, class genocidal massacres as "partial genocide".
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group. The term was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin. It is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) of 1948 as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the groups conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Ethnocide refers to the extermination of national cultures as a genocide component.
The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) is an international non-partisan organization that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature, causes, and consequences of genocide, including the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Bangladesh, Sudan, and other nations. The IAGS also advances policy studies on the prevention of genocide. The association's members consider comparative research, case studies, links between genocide and other human rights violations, predictive models for prevention of genocide, and tribunals and courts for the punishment of genocide. The organization's membership includes academics, anti-genocide activists, artists, genocide survivors, journalists, jurists, and public policy makers. Membership is open to interested persons worldwide.
Leo Kuper was a South African sociologist specialising in the study of genocide.
The Genocide of the Serbs was the systematic persecution of Serbs which was committed during World War II by the fascist Ustaše regime in the Nazi German puppet state known as the Independent State of Croatia between 1941 and 1945. It was carried out through executions in death camps, as well as through mass murder, ethnic cleansing, deportations, forced conversions, and war rape. This genocide was simultaneously carried out with the Holocaust in the NDH as well as the genocide of Roma, by combining Nazi racial policies with the ultimate goal of creating an ethnically pure Greater Croatia.
The genocide of indigenous peoples is the mass destruction of entire communities of indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples are understood to be people whose historical and current territory has become occupied by colonial expansion, or the formation of a state by a dominant group such as a colonial power.
Witnesses and testimony provide an important and valuable insight into the events during and after the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Genocide was prepared and carried out by the Ottoman government in 1915 and the following years. As a result of the genocide, as many as 1.5 million Armenians living in their ancestral homeland were deported and murdered.
Genocidal rape is the action of a group which has carried out acts of mass rape against its enemy during wartime as part of a genocidal campaign. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Yugoslav Wars, the Rwandan genocide, the Iraqi Civil War, the second Sino-Japanese war, and the Rohingya genocide; the mass rapes that had been an integral part of those conflicts brought the concept of genocidal rape to international prominence. Although war rape has been a recurrent feature in conflicts throughout history, it has usually been looked upon as a by-product of conflict, and not an integral part of military policy.
Armenian–Jewish relations are complex, often due to political and historical reasons.
Genocide studies is an academic field of study that researches genocide. Genocide became a field of study in the mid-1940s, with the work of Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term genocide and is the field's founding father. The Holocaust was initially the primary subject matter of genocide studies, and the field received an extra impetus in the 1990s, when the Rwandan genocide took place.